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RHJ’s Deutsche Bank Unit Deal Approved After Two Years

Deutsche Bank AG will sell wealth manager BHF-Bank AG to RHJ International, a Belgian financial services company, for 354 million euros ($485 million) by the end of next month.

Bafin, the Bonn-based watchdog, has no objections to the purchase, Brussels-based RHJ said in a regulatory statement today. The companies entered exclusive talks in July 2011 and RHJ said in June 2012 that Bafin had started to review the deal.

The sale helps Deutsche Bank meet a goal of shrinking its balance sheet to meet stricter capital requirements. RHJ, led by Chief Executive Officer Leonhard Fischer, came under fire from a group of investors last year who called for the breakup of RHJ as the deal dragged on.

“This is the culmination of an intensive process in Germany, but more importantly a long transitional journey for RHJ International into a diversified financial services business,” Fischer said in the statement. “We look forward to the opportunity to bring these businesses together successfully to deliver outstanding customer service and drive shareholder value.”

The deal is expected to close before the end of next month, RHJ said. The company will provide more information on the purchase, the performance of the business and cost savings when it announces full-year results on March 27, it said.

Deutsche Bank fell 0.7 percent to 35 euros at 9:47 a.m. in Frankfurt. RHJ dropped 0.3 percent to 3.81 euros in Brussels.

RHJ said it expects to reduce costs by combining the back office functions of the wealth management businesses of its Kleinwort Benson Group unit and BHF-Bank.

RHJ will acquire 9 percent of BHF-Bank directly. Kleinwort Benson will buy 91 percent after Fosun Group, AQTON SE, the investment vehicle of German entrepreneur Stefan Quandt, and entities affiliated with Timothy C. Collins, the founder of private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC, acquire a 35 percent stake in KBG.

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